We are excited to bring you the 10 best celebrity wineries in California. Excellence is universally admired, whether achieved through sport, music, finance, or any of a thousand other earthly pursuits. When it comes to wine, however, no matter how stellar the name, the sip must stand up to scrutiny, delivering on every promise held by grape and terroir.
From a continuous stream of attempts to capitalize on fame and fortune by applying a famous name to a wine label, a handful of notable celebrities stand out for the exceptional wines produced as a result of their input. Some dive deeply into the process, owning vineyard, winery, and production down to the last detail. Others partner with established wineries, expressing their passion for wine as they oversee the blending, marketing, and style. There truly is a range of celebrity wineries out there.
We've chosen to focus on Napa as the center of the wine universe for this list, which leaves solid celebrity wineries like those of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Sting and Trudie, golfer Greg Norman, hockey great Wayne Gretzky, and NFL star Drew Bledsoe out of the running on geography alone. Exploring the intersect, then, of famous personalities and Napa-centric wine grape fermentation, here are our top ten labels worthy of attention.
Our List Of The Top 10 Celebrity Wineries in California
Yao Family Wines
Photo Courtesy: Yao Family WinesInternational basketball superstar Yao Ming is one of the more recent entrants in the celebrity wine club. His eponymous, Yao Family Wines set up an elegant tasting room in St. Helena. The heart of Napa's wine country. Yao's winery focuses on big and bold Napa Cabs and Bordeaux style blends. Not surprising coming from a towering presence like Yao. This celebrity winery has had a run of good scores from wine critics that include several 90+ scores from Robert Parker. They source grapes from some of the top vineyards in Napa Valley. This is one of a handful of celebrity wineries you can actually go wine tasting at.
Courtesy Andretti WineryNASCAR great Mario Andretti celebrated retirement from his successful auto racing career celebrating with a specially chosen wine. That led to the 53-acre Napa winery purchase with friend Joe Antonini, and a relationship with quality winemaker Bob Pepi. The beautiful Tuscan-inspired Andretti Winery and tasting room continue as the production site for highly acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pino Grigio wines, earning favor with sommelier and casual wine enthusiast alike. Wine tastings, special events, and the traditional Chairman's Festival Dinner all enjoy the gorgeous setting amid 42 acres of vineyards, a stylish collection of buildings, and a lush, California landscape.
David Beckham Napa
Footballer David Beckham presented a private winery in Napa as a birthday gift to wife Victoria a few years back. Quietly producing their own labels for special soirees and friendly celebrations, the grapes are tended, crushed, and fermented by a hush-hush team of specialists. The vineyards provide a ready resource for one-of-a-kind sips that wear some very exclusive labels, available only to those within the David and Victoria inner circle.
Ferguson Crest Winery
Can you see the resemblance?
Fergie, who earned her status stripes singing with the Black Eyed Peas as well as solo, apparently has a passion for the grape. Working with her father Pat at their six-acre estate tucked into the Santa Ynez Valley, Ferguson Crest winery is home to some ready sips deserving of the star treatment. Dive into the plush, juicy Viognier, the scrumptious peppery Fergalicious, or one of winemaker Joey Tensley's limited edition wines for a famous label treat. Last we heard, this is one of the celebrity wineries without a tasting room. You can catch up with them and taste their wines at the local wine festivals in Santa Barbara County.
On the road and in the studio with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rock group Journey, Jonathan Cain found legions of fans at his feet. That led to a fortuitous meeting of the minds with fellow winemakers Dennis De La Montanya and Daryl Groom, all starting with raising money for charity. In the fundraising process, Cain noted similarities between making music and making wine. Deciding to put his passion, patience, and dedication to work as a co-vintner and consultant for Finale Wines, Cain celebrated Journey's Hall of Fame induction with a special sip. The winery produced a limited number of autographed bottles of All Access DSB Cuvee. True to his charitable vineyard roots, a significant donation to charity was included.
Tom Seaver may be known for his 311 wins and 2.86 earned run average as a National Baseball Hall of Famer, but his Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Seaver Vineyards are equally impressive, regularly scoring 90+ points from the industry's harshest critics. Produced in small lots of just 400-550 cases each harvest on 3.5 acres, the wines are available to a members-only list that is often full, requiring new fans to join a waitlist. Tom and his wife Nancy are joined by winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, a rasher of rowdy vineyard dogs, and a handful of family, with special care from Jim Barbour and the Barbour Vineyards team, to create powerful wines with rich, dense flavors in a classic style.
Charles Woodson Winery
Every bit as spectacular as his skill on the field with 13 defensive touchdowns is his commitment to family, gratitude, and excellence inherent in his impressive wines. The sought-after TwentyFour by Charles Woodson Cabernet Sauvignon is joined by Sauvignon Blanc varietals that often sell out. Also first offered to club members that know the value, the opportunity is limited. A tasting room, however, is on the horizon for all to enjoy.
Jack Nicklaus Terlato Wines
Jack Nicklaus spent his career on the golf course working to lower his score. Doing just the opposite with wine, he's been partnering with Terlato to earn high ratings for his handcrafted, small production wines out of Napa Valley. The flagship wines regularly medal at competitions where it matters, with high approval ratings for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Private Reserve Red, using grapes from Napa's finest vineyards at Mee Lane, Hillside, Oak Knoll, Pope Valley, and Atlas Peak. Additionally, these wines give back to communities through the Jack's House Foundation for a win-win with style.
Ok, we are sneaking outside of Napa and heading to the central coast for one of our celebrity wineries, but it is worth it. Film star Kurt Russell has made a lot of movies. A ton, really. He hasn't made quite as much wine, but what he has made, with help and encouragement from Peter and Rebecca Work at the organic, biodynamic, sustainably managed Ampelos Cellars in the Santa Rita Hills of California, is quite good.
The cleverly named 3 Bings Pinot Noir, Goldie Chardonnay, Lulu Viognier, and Jillybean Pinot Noir, among others, sell out through the GoGi Wines Wine Club. Join up, or head to one of the many restaurants listed on the website that carries these eclectic wines to taste Kurt's best efforts. This is one of the celebrity wineries in California that are really known for the quality wines.
Save Me San Francisco Wine Co.
Singing songs about Drops of Jupiter and Calling All Angels, the Grammy Award-winning rock band Train also makes wine. Their Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co. has won more than one hundred medals for superb sips named things like Bulletproof Picasso, California 37, Hella Fine, and Soul Sister.
Working through The Wine Group, in collaboration with winemaker James Foster, these musicians put a glass in hand that serves up a smile for a quality wine as well as for a charitable donation to University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, making each sip that much more enjoyable.
Further North - Celebrity Wineries Of The Northwest
There are some great celebrity wineries that are outside the wine Mecca of California. We decided to expand our list of celebrity-owned wineries in California to include a few of our favorites up north.
Nocking Points Wine - Walla Walla Washington (Nocking Points Are The Spot You Place Your Arrow Before Firing)
Stephen Amell, the star of the Arrow superhero series, set up a serious winery in this established (Walla Walla) Washington wine region. Nocking Points winery has a unique approach to making its wines.
First, they source grapes from some of the best spots in the Pacific Northwest. Then Amell enlists some of his superhero buddies, and other wine-loving celebs to craft unique wines. Think you would like a bottle of wine created by Aquaman? You can! Order a bottle of the
"Dirt Bag" red blend created by actor Jason Momoa.
The wines from Nocking Point are made in small lots, so it's tough to get your hands on a bottle. The best way to get access to them is via the Nocking Points wine club.
Star NFL Drew Bledsoe set up his celebrity winery in the state where his legend began. The one-time QB for the Washington State Cougars is now crafting superb Washington wines at DoubleBack. The name honors his return home and the wines honor the state's most important grape. Drew is focused on producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from estate-grown grapes.
To get your hands on this Drew's wine, you need to join "the list". This ominous title made us think twice, but it just gets you signed up to receive their emails. You also get a login to see what's available for purchase on the site. If you are a fan of the NFL and of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon, we suggest you get on "the list".
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